With the 74th annual Golden Globes just around the corner, time is running out to catch up on all of this year's major television nominees. Since there is only so little time between now and Sunday, when the Globes ceremony airs live (8/7c, NBC), let us make things a little easier for you with our guide to the 10 most important episodes to watch ahead of Hollywood's big night.
Nominated for: Drama Series, Drama Lead Actress (Claire Foy), Supporting Actor (John Lithgow)
Episode to watch: "Assassins" (Season 1, Episode 9), available on Netflix
This Queen Elizabeth II biopic exposes the private lives of England's most public figures, including Queen Elizabeth II (Foy), Prince Philip ( Matt Smith) and Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Lithgow). And in the penultimate episode of the first season, the vulnerabilities of each of these individuals is delicately exposed when Graham Sutherland (Stephen Dillane) paints a notoriously unflattering portrait of Churchill, which he promptly destroys, and a fight between Philip and Elizabeth threatens the stability of their marriage.
Game of Thrones
Nominated for: Drama Series, Supporting Actress (Lena Headey)
Episode to watch: "The Winds of Winter" (Season 6, Episode 10), available on HBO
After five seasons watching the women of Westeros suffer horrible fates, the Season 6 finale delivered the ultimate revenge fantasy as Cersei (Headey) murdered all her enemies and crowned herself Westeros' first queen. And with Daenerys ( Emilia Clarke), Yara (Gemma Whelan) and Olenna (Diana Rigg) sailing towards Westeros together, Lyanna (Bella Ramsey) crowning Jon (Kit Harington) king and Arya (Maisie Williams) gleefully slitting Walder Frey's (David Bradley) throat, "The Winds of Winter" allowed the women to bring many long-running storylines to a close, all while expertly setting the board for the show's dramatic conclusion.
Nominated for: Drama Series, Drama Lead Actress (Evan Rachel Wood), Supporting Actress (Thandie Newton)
Episode to watch: "Trompe L'Oeil" (Season 1, Episode 7), available on HBO Seven episodes in and Westworld dropped its first major twist and its first major death. "Trompe L'Oeil" raised the stakes of the series when Ford (Anthony Hopkins) reveals to Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) that he's actually a host by having him brutally murder his lover Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen). The notion of humanity's monstrosity is also explored through Maeve (Newton), a self-aware host who decides to escape the park after the employees lobotomize her only friend, Clementine (Angela Sarafyan).
Nominated for: Comedy Series, Comedy Lead Actor (Donald Glover)
Episode to watch: "The Jacket" (Season 1, Episode 10), available on Amazon The bottle episode "B.A.N.," which is told entirely as a talk show on the fictional Black America Network, is arguably Atlanta's best episode. But since Glover doesn't even appear onscreen in "B.A.N." you might want to check out the season finale "The Jacket" to get a better sense of this surreal dark comedy. After losing his jacket at a party, Earn (Glover) goes on a long journey to recover it that ends in tragedy when the man who has Earn's jacket is shot by police. In addition to Atlanta's chilling take on police shootings, "The Jacket" also subtly reveals a huge development in Earn's life, showing that he is finally at a place where he is ready to stop relying on others and stand on his own two feet. It's a lot to accomplish in a half-hour comedy, but Atlanta is nothing if not ambitious.
Nominated for: Comedy Series, Comedy Lead Actor (Anthony Anderson), Comedy Lead Actress (Tracee Ellis Ross)
Episode to watch: "Hope" (Season 2, Episode 16), available on Hulu This year, Black-ish further established itself as a rightful heir to Norman Lear comedies, examining modern social and political issues through the lives of the multigenerational Johnson family. In "Hope," Black-ish takes on police brutality as the entire family gathers to see whether a grand jury will indict a police officer involved in tasing a black person 37 times. With each of the family members sharing their own unique perspective on the issue, Black-ish delivers a more nuanced take on the fraught social issue than some one-hour dramas have done.
Mozart in the Jungle
Nominated for: Comedy Series, Comedy Lead Actor (Gael Garcia Bernal)
Episode to watch: "Not Yet Titled" (Season 3, Episode 7), available on Jason Schwartzman), follows the New York Symphony as they perform a concert at Riker's Island. In a bold creative decision, co-creator Roman Coppola decided to actually perform and record the Rikers concert live, with real inmates in the audience and with only one take of the extremely challenging music, composed by Olivier Messiaen while he was a POW during WWII.
Nominated for: Comedy Series, Comedy Lead Actor (Jeffrey Tambor)
Episode to watch: "Elizah" (Season 3, Episode 1), available on Amazon Featuring no appearances from the rest of the Pfefferman clan, "Elizah" focuses solely on Maura (Tambor). After a young trans woman calls the LGBT Center help line and wonders why she shouldn't kill herself, Maura tries to track the woman down on her own. In the process, the episode shows just how clueless Maura is when it comes to the outside world and does a great job unpacking her own privilege.
Nominated for: Comedy Series, Comedy Lead Actress (Julia Louis-Dreyfus)
Episode to watch: "Mother" (Season 5, Episode 4), available on HBO This episode is dark comedy at its best, showing how Selina (Louis-Dreyfus) struggles to deal with the death of her mother while the presidency slips through her fingers during a recount. Watching this utter narcissist simultaneously come to terms with the end of her presidency and the end of her complicated relationship with her mother is brutally honest, but still utterly hilarious as Selina's already acid-tongue is only further fueled by her grief.
This Is Us
Nominated for: Drama Series, Supporting Actress (Chrissy Metz, Mandy Moore)
Episode to watch: "Pilgrim Rick" (Season 1, Episode 8), available on Hulu The emotional climax of the already emotional season, "Pilgrim Rick" follows the Pearson family in the lead-up to Thanksgiving, giving a rare glimpse at what it looks like when the entire family (except Jack) gathers together in the present day. And while the '80s flashbacks pack quite an emotional punch, nothing could have prepared us for present-day Randall (Sterling K. Brown) discovering his mother (Moore) has always known his biological father.
Nominated for: Drama Series, Drama Lead Actress (Winona Ryder)
Episode to watch: "Chapter 1: The Vanishing of Will Byers" (Season 1, Episode 1), available on Netflix If you haven't seen Stranger Things yet, there's no better place to start than the beginning. In its pilot, Stranger Things immediately establishes its nostalgic tone, filling you with the joy only the 1980s can inspire, while also setting up the series' ongoing mystery that will soon have you hooked. Ryder also shines in the pilot as the mother of a boy who's gone missing, but whom no one takes seriously.
The Golden Globes airs Sunday at 8/7c on NBC.